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India National Gas Hydrate Program Expedition 02 summary of scientific results: Numerical simulation of reservoir response to depressurization


The India National Gas Hydrate Program Expedition 02 (NGHP-02) discovered gas hydrate at high saturation in sand reservoirs at several sites in the deepwater Bay of Bengal. To assess the potential response of those deposits to scientific depressurization experiments, comprehensive geologic models were constructed to enable numerical simulation for two sites. Both sites (NGHP-02-09 and NGHP-02-16) feature thick sequences of thinly-interbedded reservoir and non-reservoir facies at sub-seafloor depths less than 300 m and sub-sea depths of 2400 m or more. These settings pose significant challenges to current modeling capabilities. First, the thinly-interbedded reservoir architecture complicates the determination of basic reservoir parameters from both log and core data due to measurement resolution issues. Secondly, the fine scale variation in sediment properties imparts great contrasts in key parameters over very short distances, creating high gradients at multiple scales and varying orientations that necessitate careful design of high-definition simulation grids. Thirdly, the deposits include internal sources of water, as well as a range of complex boundary conditions, including variable permeability within the overlying mud-rich “seals,” that complicate reservoir depressurization. Lastly, because of the unique combination of great water depth and relatively shallow sub-seafloor depth: models designed to maximize the dissociation rate impose large pressure drawdowns on relatively low-strength sediments. This condition renders the proper evaluation and integration of the geomechanical response to hydrate dissociation critical. In this report, we review the history of gas hydrate reservoir simulation, discuss methods for creating geologic input models, and summarize the key findings and implications of the collaborative NGHP-02 numerical simulation effort. Together, the studies confirm the viability of the modeled accumulations for scientific testing and identify key challenges related to the selection of specific test sites and the design of test wells.

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